the power of music to lift your mood

I’ve been struggling with finding something to write this week.  I’m brimming with ideas, but have no motivation to come up with the words.  I’ve toyed with just giving up this blog completely, as the stress of finding time for it isn’t really helping my mood.  And that slumpiness goes beyond my blog, in to my real life.  My house is a hovel, I’ve not exercised since Wednesday and I’ve been avoiding people.  Thank god I read What My Fridge Says’ brilliant post about the power of music for lifting your mood and helping you to fake it ’til you make it.

the power of music

Whether it’s part of depression or just a part of my personality I don’t know, but I can be sucked into what I think of as blank space.  It’s a place where everything seems grey, too much effort, not worth it, pointless. My energy seeps out of me and I find it very hard to even move.  Everything feels heavy and aching, it even hurts to keep my eyes open.  I don’t call it a black hole, because a tiny part of me keeps me anchored to my responsibilities – I still get up, get the kids to school, go to work, put the dinner on the table.  I go through the motions, but I don’t engage.  I’m here, but in body only.  My spirit…just isn’t.

Blank space is where I’ve found myself this week.  It probably is depression, as I’m not surprised that I’ve found myself here when I’ve forgotten to take my medication for a couple of days.  Why oh why have they not developed a mental health version of the contraceptive implant or patch, for people like me who suck at taking pills? But that’s a thought for another day.


my mood lifters

Today’s thought is about the power of music to change your mood.  I love how Lucy describes music as being sweets for the brain.  Music has always played such a big part in my life, and I’m instantly transported to a different place, time or frame of mind by the right song.  I thought I would share some of my favourite mood lifters…before I go and stick them on Spotify to try and shake myself out of this blankness.


Two Doors Down, Mystery Jets 

The poppy sound of this just fills me with joy, I love the 80’s vibe.  And the lyrics are just too cute.


Hounds of Love, The Futureheads

I can’t find the official video, but a live version is better.  A great cover of an already great song.  This brings back some lovely memories, seeing them at the Benicassim festival in Spain back in 2006.  Drunk on sangria, yelling my head off in a sea of other people doing the same thing.


The Sound, The 1975

I love this band.  This is another one with a great pop vibe, and I love the lyrics of the chorus.  Although it’s about a dysfunctional relationship, I love the idea of loving and knowing someone so much that you know them by the sound of their heart.


Real Gone Kid, Deacon Blue

Are you even Scottish if you don’t know all the words to this (or Dignity)?  And there’s a reason – singing this at the top of your lungs and spinning around to the music can shake even the worst of Scottish-winter blues.


Little of Your Love, Haim

I’m a little bit obsessed with these girls. Their songs are great to sing along to, and they can really bring it when it comes to a funky wee tune.


There’s Nothing Holding Me Back, Shawn Mendes

From indie pop to all out cheese.  I bloody love this, I can’t help but sing along…it’s infectious!


believe in the power of music

I could go all day with this!  Looking up the videos here has already lifted my mood from when I sat down to write.  That’s the power of music.  Whether a tune lifts you up because of the lyrics or the melody, the tempo or the memories you associate with it, it can be an incredible mental health booster.

Not everyone agrees with that though (apparently blast Mmmbop at a grumpy person wont make them happy…), and I suppose some of that change has to come from yourself.  The power of music is only as strong as you let it be.  So make the conscious decision to get happy, and whack on the tunes!

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mental health boosters

I’m struggling to write about weight loss because I’m currently sabotaging my efforts.  For me, how I feel and what I eat are very closely linked.  If I feel good, being healthy can be so easy.  But if I feel like shit, I eat like shit.  And then I feel even more like shit.  So then I eat even more like shit. Safe to say, I’m not in a happy place right now.  But I’ve decided to turn it around and focus on the things that make me feel better.  Not elaborate things, not material things. Just simple daily things that serve as mental health boosters to get me through the crap times.

mental health boosters


Trying to write this post, I stared at a blank screen for longer than my limited free time can really allow me.  I just don’t know where to start…or even if I want to start it at all.  But I need to get over this block, my blog has been so abandoned.

I don’t know why I’m finding this so difficult to put into words, because I did the hard part last week.  I guess that’s a good place to start – walking into the GP’s office and bursting in to tears.  I’m having a mental health crisis.  Or at least I was, at the time.  Before I stepped into that room I had spent the past four hours sobbing and feeling as if I was losing my grip on things.  Even in that moment, I knew it was something that had been building for a while.  I’d just refused to see the walls closing in on me until I had no room to turn.

I’m in a better place now.  Not a good place, but a better one.  Asking for help was like releasing a pressure valve. I’ve been here more times than I can count, so I knew that medication was the route I wanted to go down.  Now I just need to wait for it to kick in.  In the meantime, I need to practice a bit of self care to keep myself out of that dark place.

My mental health boosters are simple things that can make all the difference.  Little things that keep depression from taking over and leaving me stranded.  They aren’t groundbreaking, but are things it can be hard to remember to focus on when you’re trapped in your thoughts. I hope they can help someone else.


my mental health boosters


I always seem to say the same thing about exercise – I never really want to do it, but I never regret it when I do.  But more than that, a workout can totally transform my mood.  No doubt some of that is to do with those mystical endorphins people always talk about.  But I think it’s more than that.  I think it’s because I feel like I’ve achieved something.  Getting swamped by your negative thoughts is hard when you’re concentrating on exercise, and a break from your worries can really lift your mood.

Even if it’s just a walk, distract yourself with music or a podcast and just focus on putting one foot in front of the other.



A rare commodity in my life right now, but when all else fails my bed is my safe place.  Bra off, jammies on, total darkness and silence (I have a mask and ear plugs – I take this shit seriously).   I long for the day our baby finally sleeps through the night so I can get the full benefit of this one.

But even a naps can be powerful mental health boosters.  I read a tip once which has helped me a few times – if you only have a short time to nap, drink a coffee first. By the time you wake up, the caffeine will have kicked in so you’ll feel more energised.

When my anxiety is up, I can’t sleep.  But even then, sometimes just lying in bed can help boost my mood.  If I find my thoughts are racing, listening to this progressive relaxation can really help.



This is the hardest one to do, but probably the one that makes the most difference.  When I’m gripped by depression, I tend to cut myself off.  I don’t have the energy to be sociable, and convince myself that no one wants to be around me anyway.  But past experience has shown that spending time with my friends can lift me out of myself and remind me of so many things to be positive about.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in negative thoughts. When your own inner voice is the only one you’re hearing, the spiral is just downwards.  But if you can find someone to talk to, either about how you’re feeling or anything other than that, give it a try.


let go of things that don’t serve you

This is a turn of phrase I’ve stolen from Yoga with Adriene.  It really speaks to me, because we all have things we do out of a sense of duty.  Maybe that’s cooking dinner when you’re knackered. Or maybe it’s doing someone a favour when you’ve already got enough on your plate. Maybe you feel obliged to spend time with someone who brings you down. Whatever it is, it’s liberating to simply not do it.  Often I know it’s better for my mental wellbeing to ignore my mum’s phone calls, or to admit that I’m too busy to cook from scratch, or just to leave the laundry for another day.

We put so much pressure on ourselves. Sometimes we forget the world wont cave in if we let some things slide.  Letting go of the things that aren’t going to lift your mood can be challenging, and in some cases can cause you even more anxiety.  But if you let go of even just the small things, it can be a great mental health booster.



other tips

One of the best things I ever read was the Everything Is Awful and I’m Not Okay self care checklist.  Much like my mental health boosters, it includes some simple things that can help you take steps out of the dark fog.  Small things like taking a shower and getting dressed (which I swear by, even if I have nowhere to be), to bigger ones like seeing a therapist.  It’s a great tool to work through.

Another great tool is the You Feel Like Shit interactive self care flow chart. It covers similar areas as the checklist, but breaks it down in to steps. This could be easier to manage, and makes the suggestions more relevant to where you’re at.



speak up

But none of these mental health boosters are a substitute to getting help.  If you’re feeling anxious, depressed or just not right in yourself, the best thing you can do is to speak up.  See your GP, tell your spouse, contact a support service.  But don’t suffer in silence.  We live in a much more supportive time for mental health than when I was first diagnosed 15 years ago.  Nothing you’re struggling with will shock a health professional, and you’ll find no judgement from them. No matter how worthless you feel, you are worth help.

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